Rebuilding Leyton Orient given lesson in standards they need in order to thrive
Of course, it still feels great just to be here for Orient fans.
Dropping down a division never has to be a complete disaster, but dropping out of the league altogether is another matter, of course.
The path back is by no means guaranteed and many an established Football League side has slipped into the unforgiving badlands of the National League and struggled to return.
That is why the euphoria of making it back should take a long time to fade and a healthy crowd of more than 7,000 underlined how much goodwill surrounds E10.
Yet, at the same time, the Os realise they are going to work damn hard this season to make sure that brush with non-league football was a one off.
Their start to the campaign has been encouraging, but there were boos from a few fans as they trailed 3-0 at half time against Swindon Town, and for all the sense of unity and desire to build on the legacy of Justin Edinburgh’s promotion, days like these are a reminder that it will not be easy working their way back to full health.
They showed spirit to ensure it finished a respectable 3-1.
The West Country visitors, a side brimming with confidence and among the promotion favourites, had Ross Embleton’s side pinned back in their own half for large spells and there was an obvious gulf in class, which only time and greater experience at this level will address.
Embleton is still classified as interim head coach. The sense of permanence the club craves will have to wait a while.
It was logical and no surprise when Swindon took the lead through Keshi Anderson, a gifted and marauding midfielder who looked a cut above anyone Orient have in the ranks for the moment.
And the points were as good as gone when Rob Hunt’s speculative effort from outside the area beat a slow-moving Dean Brill, at his near post, via a defection off Joe Widdowson. Jerry Yates tucked in a third before the break.
Not that the raw talents on show deserve anything but encouragement and faith. After all, they have bagged a couple of wins in the opening seven matches and are only just below half way at this early stage of the season.
Striker Lee Angol has a couple of goals to his credit, as has midfielder Josh Wright. Conor Wilkinson toiled manfully throughout and almost scored with a shot which glanced off a post and sub Jordan Maguire-Drew’s consolation strike was reward for his efforts after coming on at half time.
But for everyone, it is a steep learning curve.
Dan Happe is the only player turning out against Swindon who was also involved in Orient’s final League Two fixture at Blackpool two seasons ago when they were relegated. There is still much to do and much experience to soak up in the months ahead.